To Al Kossow at bitsavers

Johnny Billquist bqt at
Sun Nov 15 11:00:33 CST 2015

On 2015-11-15 17:28, Mouse wrote:
>> If people put the PDP-11 software up in general, they are violating
>> copyright laws (and possibly IP rights).
> In general, probably.  But I have seen it said that there are
> jurisdictions that do not recognize copyrights other than their own, or
> possibly even do not recognize copyrights at all.  I would be surprised
> if there were not some networking with at least one such, leading to
> the interesting (in the abstract) question of where the infringement,
> if any, would occur if someone in such a jurisdiction were to make it
> available.

Good point. But that just makes it even more complicated.

>> Now, what do you think is the right way to deal with this?
> Personally?  I think the rightest way is to eliminiate the legal
> fiction called "intellectual property", as a good-sounding experiment
> that has failed.  It is not producing the effects it was put in place
> to produce and it is producing a lot of other, ill, effects.

Agree. I think the whole concept of intellectual property is weird. 
Calling some thought in your head a "property" have strange 
implications. If I say some words that makes you think of something, can 
I then make you violate my intellectual property? When if you thought of 
the same idea independently? How did you violate my intellectual 
property in that case?


I think copyright law sortof makes more sense, and should be enough here.

> However, it is, to put it mildly, unlikely that will happen; too many
> of the mechanisms that would have to be convinced have a vested
> interest in keeping it the way it is.

Sad, but true.

> I think the best thing "we" can do here is preserve things in a
> demonstrably not-directly-usable form.  That is, however, difficult;
> second best is probably to privately keep archive copies, not
> redistributed, until and unless someone comes forward with a credible
> claim to being the owner.

Yeah. Which is basically what I try to do.

>> Me personally, I think we need to get HP to release it all.
> Quite aside from the other possible projblems with that mentioned
> upthread, it's possible that the contract with Mentec is such that
> that's not an option for them.  (If HP doesn't have a copy of that
> contract either, the Right Thing would be for them to negotiate some
> kind of replacement with XX2247.  Unfortunately, I can't see any
> business case for them to spend the staff time that would involve.)

Yes. But I still think that is the best bet for now. I think it could 
actually make sense for them to just put out a blanket statement that 
they release all claims on any PDP-11 software.
That would hopefully not take much effort or time on their part, and it 
would be all that we need.
However, I suspect that it's still a case that noone at HP really dares 
to do that. They don't have a clear idea what the ramifications would 
be, and so they will not. But one would hope that they will sooner or 
later feel that there is not anything left in there that they are 
willing to even think of.

> It sucks.  But, sometimes, the world loses. :-(



Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
                                   ||  on a psychedelic trip
email: bqt at             ||  Reading murder books
pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol

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